Module choice for our current level 2 students

by Jeanette Sakel

Our module options fair will take place Friday 6.3.2015 from 2-4 in 2S704, replacing Rebecca’s seminars that week.

This event is your opportunity to meet the lecturers and module leaders at level 3 in one space, and learn about the modules on offer. You will, for example, be able to ask about assessment, and talk to current level 3 students to hear what they think about the modules they are studying. You will also be able to quiz Anna about the Language Project (i.e. the Undergraduate Dissertation), and look at a few examples of previous dissertations.

I would strongly encourage all of you to attend this fair. Also, it is a good idea to come well prepared. The following list and information about modules is also available to you via the webpage, but I’m listing it here for your convenience (please note that the Project Module sign-up sheet is not included).

Students on English Language and Linguistics have to choose 4 modules; students on English and English Language have to choose 2 modules (the remaining two modules will be on the “English” side). The modules on offer this year are:

  • UPLQ9L-30-3 Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • UPNN35-30-3 Language Project (A brief project proposal form has to be submitted)
  • UPNQ9V-30-3 Creative Writing and the Self
  • UPNQ9P-30-3 Critical Discourse Analysis
  • UPNQ9Q-30-3 The sociolinguistics of language contact
  • UPNQ9N-30-3 The Cultural History of the English Language
  • UPNQ9W-30-3 Gender, (im)politeness and Power in Language
  • UPNN43-30-3 Analysing spoken English

We will endeavour to give you your first choice, subject to staffing and timetabling constraints.  Your options will not be confirmed until your timetable is released to you.  Please be aware that there may be changes.

Students on all of the modules are expected to maintain an average of nine hours’ input per week per module. For taught modules that means three in class and six in activities outside class such as information-gathering, reading (including beyond set texts), note-taking and writing.

Please click the ‘more’ link to reveal the individual summaries and information about the assessment.

UPNQ9L-30-3 Teaching of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL)

Module leader: Rebecca Fong

This is a module about the theory and practice of becoming a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Learning to teach is a complex process that involves a combination of input types from demonstration, to discussion, to practice and experimentation, analysis, reflection and critical self-awareness. It also requires the willingness to work and share with peers in convivial learning situations. It should be noted that this module is NOT taught by powerpoint lectures and therefore excellent attendance is essential throughout.

The module is divided into two halves. TB1 involves a significant methodology and language awareness component. Students examine the history of language teaching and current communicative language teaching practice. Students learn to analyse the form and function of a range of grammatical and lexico-grammatical concepts including tense and aspect, conditionals, passives, modal verbs, use of articles, phrasal verbs, and reported speech, from the point of view of both the teacher and the learner. Students also work on lesson approaches and developing lesson plans using appropriate teaching and learning materials.

In TB2, students gain a theoretical and practical understanding of all aspects of the 4 skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening), phonology for teaching purposes and the ability to teach vocabulary. Learner types, needs and motivation will also be examined, as well as needs analysis, syllabus design and testing. Issues of classroom management will be addressed throughout the year. Students, as “trainee teachers” will be involved in working with a real non-native student, whom they find themselves from amongst the vast and willing UWE contingent of international students. As TB2 coursework, trainee teachers produce a “language learner profile” based on the delivery of a series of diagnostic tests and a 1-1 needs-related, tailor-made lesson for their chosen student. Throughout the year, participants in this module will be expected to participate fully with the input and discussions and to read widely, in their own time, from the TESOL literature.

This is a skills-based, vocational module which has led in many cases directly to employability. Several graduates of this course have gone into TESOL teaching jobs around the world and others have completed externally-validated courses such as the RSA Cert TEFLA, Trinity TESOL, PGCE and then gone into employment. The course provides input, practice and assessment of TESOL in a “secure and friendly” context, with lots of opportunities for individual feedback, as well as university module validation of TESOL. It does not provide the external, publicly-recognised RSA/Trinity certificate. Completion of this module will, however, aid anyone wishing to go on and study on the RSA Certificate in potentially gaining a very good mark.

Not recommended for anyone who is completely allergic to grammar, although EFL teachers always try to package grammar in a friendly, communicative, teachable way, and you WILL be able to learn it, if you are motivated. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in, or has experience of, foreign languages, enjoys travel and intercultural communication, and hopes to spend time abroad in the future, or importantly, wants to go on to PGCE.

Please note that students following this module are expected to maintain an average of nine hours’ input per week, three in class and six in activities outside class such as information-gathering, reading (including beyond set texts), note-taking and writing.

Assessment: Essay of 3000 words (70%) (Learner Profile) and a one and half hour exam (30%) (Language awareness).

UPNN35-30-3 Language Project                 

Module leader: Anna Piasecki

This 30 credit module gives you the opportunity to either develop and carry out an empirical research study of your choice, or to critically reflect on a work-based experience with an additional work-related project.. Possible topics are, for example, analyses of advertisements, gendered talk, the language of magazines and newspapers, issues in bilingualism or in teaching English as a second or foreign language. In addition, the project provides you with the opportunity to practice using computational tools whenever applicable.

All projects will be supervised by a designated member of staff, whose expertise will most likely fall into the chosen topic area. In addition, you will be offered monthly workshops and group-sessions during TB1. These are set up to help you structure your project, engage in discussions with others working in similar areas and to monitor your progress.

Assessment: At the end of TB1 you will submit a 500 word topic proposal (10%). At the end of TB2 you will hand in either (a) an extended essay, based on a research project of 9000 words; or (b) a report about a topic in Language and Linguistics, linked to your work experience (6000 words), alongside a self-reflective diary and evaluation of this work experience (in terms of language; 3000 words). Both word counts exclude appendices and references (90%)

Please complete the project proposal form attached at the end of this document and submit it to the module leader (Anna Piasecki), to to be advised


UPNQ9V-30-3 Creative Writing and the Self

Module leader: Catherine Rosenberg

This module will be of interest to students who wish to explore the potential of creative writing for their own self development as well as looking at the use made of narratives in the research process.  There will be a significant element of personal reflection and opportunities to engage in creative writing and analysis.

In TB1 we will start by looking at theories of the self in relation to creativity.  We will move on from this point to look at how narrative techniques can be used, not only for personal development, but also in the research process in helping us gain a better understanding of ourselves, others and society.  In the latter part of this teaching block we look at the self in relation to the language we use, and at how this is an aspect of our personal identity.  There will be ongoing practical work undertaken in relation to the theoretical aspects of what we cover, in particular with a view to creative writing for personal development, as well as a significant amount of reading and personal reflection.  You will also be able to post your creative writing and comment on each other’s work anonymously on the online writing forum.

You will then have the opportunity for a detailed exploration of the way in which you yourself use narrative as in TB2 we turn to issues relating to the writing of your coursework.  You will be asked to record one of your own stories in a small group of your own choice and then you will analyse this from different angles: what have you said, and how have you communicated this?  In this way we return to the use of narratives in the research process and at how what we are trying to discover from our narratives informs the way in which we choose to transcribe and analyse them.  This unique opportunity to carry out narrative analysis of your own story frequently results in students seeing their stories in a different way and reaching a better understanding of themselves and their story in the process.  The module therefore should appeal to those who are interested in exploring their self expression through discussion and writing.

Assessment: A one and a half hour examination at the end of TB1 on theoretical aspects of the module (25%) and a single piece of written coursework of 4000 words submitted at the end of TB2 in which students record, transcribe and analyse a personal narrative (75%).

UPNQ9P-30-3 Critical Discourse Analysis

Module leader: Jonathan Charteris-Black

This module is concerned with people, persuasion and power. It explores the rhetorical nature of language and how power relations are enforced by language use. It introduces students to discourse theories that account for relationships between the surface linguistic features of texts and how they contribute to the distribution of power. It illustrates and evaluates the role of language in ideologically motivated representations in political speeches, press reports and other media texts on topics such as immigration, the reporting of sex crimes and environmental issues.

            The first half of TB1 introduces students to classical rhetoric by examining what it was that classical rhetoricians believed was most likely to be effective in persuasion. The second half of TB1 introduces students to more recent concepts and methods that have been developed for the linguistics analysis of power relations. These include lexical and grammatical choices and modality.

In the first part of TB2 there is exploration of how language is used in the press media with a focus on features such as reported speech and narrative structure. We then examine how arguments are made to be more persuasive drawing on work by Wodak and Toulmin. The second half of TB2 explores metaphor in some detail, examining various theories including the lecturer’s own Critical Metaphor Analysis. Seminar activities include making short speeches, writing a Sun news story and a debate on a contemporary issue. The module is based on a textbook: Charteris-Black, J. 2014 Analysing Political Speeches.

            Assessment: The module will be assessed by an essay of approximately 3,500 words (end of TB1) and a three hour examination (end of TB2). An equal weighting is given to each component.

UPNQ9Q-30-3 The sociolinguistics of language contact

Module Leader: Jeanette Sakel

This module looks at the sociolinguistics of language contact and bilingualism. We will also discuss some structural changes to languages in contact, and analyse the way bilinguals’ speech differs from that of monolinguals. The first part of the module (TB1) introduces the key terms in this area of study and TB2 goes into more detail with specific scenarios and practical issues surrounding language contact and bilingualism.

We will study different types of outcomes of contact (language maintenance and shift, code switching, lexical borrowing, grammatical borrowing, etc.) and contact situations (linguistic areas, pidgins, creoles, mixed languages), as well as the processes involved when languages ‘meet’, such as in second language acquisition and language attrition.

The module is practically oriented, and we will make use of empirical data to understand the sociolinguistic dimensions of language contact.

Assessment: an essay of 3,000 words worth 40% in TB1 and a three-hour exam worth 60% of the overall mark in TB2.

Please note that this module does not require the knowledge of another language.

UPNQ9N-30-3 The Cultural History of the English Language

Module leader: Richard Coates

This wide-ranging module examines the relation between the various dialects of English over a period of more than a thousand years, the relation between English and competitor languages in the British Isles, the position of English in relation to the great cultural movements of the second millennium, and the position of English outside the British Isles. It also covers sociolinguistic aspects of literacy and education, and provides an understanding of the changes which English has undergone in the light of general theories of language change whilst also relating current variation and change in English to issues in our society and culture.

            Assessment: TB1 an exam worth 12.5% of the overall mark and an essay of 2000 words worth 37.5% of the overall mark. TB2: an essay of 3000 words worth 50% of the overall mark.


UPNQ9W-30-3 Gender, (Im)politeness and Power in Language

Module leader: Kate Beeching

The myth of Mars and Venus – are women more emotional and men more rational (in their speech)? This module explores gender stereotyping and gender construction, particularly as they are reflected in language.

After a general overview of sexism, gender stereotyping, biological factors and the nature/nurture debate, the module goes on to trace the history of language and gender studies, from the deficit, dominance and difference to the dynamism paradigm, with a particular emphasis on gender construction.  A range of methodologies suitable for data analysis are illustrated, from variationism  and corpus linguistics to ethnography and discourse analysis. The 1 hour exam at the end of TB1 tests your knowledge and understanding of different  approaches to the study of language and gender.

In TB2, our attention turns to politeness and impoliteness, how these are enacted linguistically and the relationship between politeness and power.  LGBTQ issues, ‘coming out’ narratives and gender construction in online communication are also addressed. In practical analysis sessions, drawing on the methodologies illustrated in TB1, we will look at talk in different public and private contexts and at the different ways talk may be constructed, perceived and indexed as ‘gendered’ or ‘(im)polite’.  These lead up to the choice of an individual project topic, written up as the 4,000 CW essay due in at the end of the academic year.  Surgery sessions will help you to research, collect and analyse data, and write up your individual project. Previous projects have looked at gender-construction in stand-up comedians, Celebrity Big Brother, lesbian identity and politeness and hedging on the Jonathan Ross show as well as looking at everyday spontaneous conversations and gossip between friends and family.

Assessment: a one-hour exam 25% TB1 an essay of 4,000 words 75% TB2.

UPNN43-30-3 Analysing spoken English

Module leader: James Murphy

This course will cover various aspects of spoken English.  In TB1, we will look at how spoken language differs from written language, how sound systems change and how we can analyse sound waves to explore people’s idiolects.  In TB2, we will consider how sentence structure and word choice is influenced by the fact that the language produced is spontaneous.  We will do this by exploring key ideas such as persistence, alternations and collocations, particularly by analysing large-scale corpora.

This course will give you a number of practical skills, e.g. the ability to measure vowel formants in Praat (the principle tool used by phoneticians and speech and language therapists), the capability to manipulate large data-sets (a key skill in many careers involving administration, data analysis and management) and the confidence to interpret results accurately and cogently (most likely through the use of basic statistical testing).

The course will require a degree of self-motivation.  In TB1 you will spend time learning how to use new computer software to answer questions about how people speak.  In TB2 you will be required to carry out (with a great deal of guidance and support) a small-scale investigation using already available corpora – the topic of this will be driven by your own interests.  You will be expected to carry out set reading each week and some time will be set aside in the seminar time to discussing this (one or two students will be expected to lead the discussion each week).

Assessment: 50% (3-hour examination in TB1), 50% (3,000 word report on investigation in TB2).


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